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Colorado Marijuana FAQs

Is marijuana legal in Colorado?

Yes, both medical and recreational marijuana are legal in the state of Colorado. Individuals who are 18 years and older can obtain a medical marijuana card to purchase or possess products from a medical marijuana dispensary. Those without a medical card must be 21 years or older (with a valid government issued ID) to legally purchase or possess products from a recreational dispensary. Note that medical marijuana cards are for Colorado residents only.

What is the difference between medical and retail marijuana?

In the state of Colorado, purchasing medical marijuana requires a state “red card,” (issued to those in the state patient registry) which is only distributed to Colorado residents with an official recommendation by a doctor. This recommendation documents that the patient is suffering from a medical condition that may be helped with use of marijuana. Medical marijuana patients can receive cannabis from a primary caregiver, self-grow their own or purchase from a licensed medical marijuana dispensary.

Recreational marijuana is available to both residents and non-residents of Colorado, however you must be 21 years old and older with a government issued ID (i.e. a driver’s license or passport) in order to purchase or possess any products. Only licensed retail marijuana stores may sell retail marijuana.

Note that customers will pay higher taxes in a recreational dispensary, thanks to a general sales tax, special retail tax and an excise tax. Check out this article for more information about taxes in Colorado.

For more information on what to expect when visiting your first retail marijuana dispensary, click here.

Are out-of-state medical marijuana cards honored in Colorado?

Unfortunately, Colorado does not have reciprocity for out-of-state medical marijuana cards.

Where can I buy marijuana in Colorado?

Recreational retail marijuana dispensaries are open for business, in addition to medical marijuana dispensaries. There are now over 400 recreational marijuana dispensaries and over 400 medical dispensaries open in Colorado. For the full directory of stores, click here.

How much marijuana can I buy or possess?

Any adult 21 years or older is allowed to purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) in a single transaction (previously, tourists were restricted to only 7 grams per transaction). Medical patients are allowed to posses up to 2 ounces (56 grams) or its equivalent. Larger amounts for possession are permitted to medical patients granted extended plant counts for severe illnesses.

Note that you can buy a mix of flower (or bud), edibles and concentrates, but the laws have changed as of October 1, 2016. Because the MED argues that some products (like concentrates) have a higher level of THC than flower, you won’t be able to purchase the same amount in both forms. The ‘Marijuana Equivalency’ rules impact recreational sales only, but state that 1oz of flower = 8g of concentrate (shatter, wax, etc.) while 1oz of flower = 800mg of edibles.

It’s important to remember that these regulations apply to sales, not possession. As per the Colorado Constitution, you are allowed to legally posses 1oz (or 28g) of THC. Learn more here.

What types of marijuana are available?

In addition to hundreds of different strains of flower (or bud), you can also find marijuana in many different forms for sale. Hash, hash oil, kief, edibles (such as baked goods or candies) and THC capsules are all readily available for your enjoyment. Currently, Colorado has relatively few restrictions on allowable cannabis preparations.

What are the operating hours for recreational marijuana stores?

The state allows marijuana dispensaries to operate from 8am to 12am. Cities can implement more restrictive hours than the state allows. For instance, Denver stores are required to close by 10pm.

If you are arriving in Denver after 10pm, you may want to check out the stores in Edgewater or Glendale, which are cities bordering Denver that allow stores to remain open until 12am. Aurora is another city which borders Denver and also allows dispensaries to remain open until 10pm.

Worried about your privacy when visiting a recreational shop? Learn more here.

Can I smoke in public in Colorado?

No, not legally. The law in Colorado restricts consumption of marijuana to private areas only, like a home or 420-friendly hotel room. There is a lot of grey area in the law right now, so please use discretion at all times. For more information on marijuana laws in Colorado, click here.

Can I smoke in a dispensary? Are there smoke shops that allow public consumption?

Unfortunately, you cannot consume cannabis in or around a licensed marijuana dispensary. It is also illegal to smoke at indoor (yet public) spaces like bars, restaurants, etc. As of today, you can visit several different social lounges (some licensed, some not) to consume on site.

Can I travel with marijuana to another state or country?

No, traveling with cannabis over state lines is 100% illegal. You can get a DUI if you’re driving under the influence of marijuana and if you’re caught with products in a car, you could face severe penalties and even jail time.

If you are traveling with marijuana in your car, remember to keep it in an closed container away from the driver, but note that it’s always illegal to consume marijuana in a motor vehicle.

What are the consequences for breaking marijuana laws in Colorado?

If you break a marijuana law in the state of Colorado, there are a variety of penalties that could be implemented, ranging from fines to jail time. Note that laws regarding possession are the same across the board, whether you’re talking about edibles versus flower or smoking in public.

Common questions and answers about marijuana in Colorado. Where to buy weed, how much marijuana you can buy, and where you can smoke pot in Colorado.

Coronavirus fuels marijuana industry’s push for online sales, delivery in Colorado

Now under Colorado’s emergency rules, customers can pay for marijuana online and then pick up their purchase at the store.

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By Thomas Peipert, The Associated Press

Colorado has made online sales of recreational marijuana legal during the coronavirus pandemic, fulfilling one of the pot industry’s biggest wishes and fueling its argument for more concessions that could be made permanent when the crisis eases.

It’s one of several signs emerging from the virus outbreak of just how far ingrained marijuana has become in mainstream life in several states. Dispensaries are being designated “critical businesses” and are allowed to operate through statewide stay-at-home orders. Large markets such as California, Washington state and Oregon are allowing curbside pickup during the crisis.

Now under Colorado’s emergency rules, customers can pay for marijuana online and then pick up their purchase at the store.

COVID-19 IN COLORADO

The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • LIVE BLOG: The latest on closures, restrictions and other major updates.
  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTING: Here’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • STORY: Gov. Jared Polis: 1 out of every 49 Coloradans is now contagious with coronavirus

“We have an opportunity to prove that cannabis businesses can run these operations and do so effectively under extremely dire circumstances,” said Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the Denver-based National Cannabis Industry Association.

Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois and Oregon also allow online recreational marijuana sales. But the practice nonetheless remains severely limited because credit card companies tend to shy away from dealing with a drug that is still illegal under U.S. law.

Fox said easing restrictions on dispensaries is a step, but he doubts credit card companies will embrace the marijuana industry unless lawmakers provide some cover by passing the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which aims to protect financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses.

One example is Cannabis Station by Rocky Mountain High, a dispensary housed in an old filling station in downtown Denver. The dispensary has been providing curbside pickup after Gov. Jared Polis’ March 20 directive, but it hasn’t delved into online sales because it hasn’t found a credit card company willing to process the transactions.

The dispensary’s manager, Ben Prater, said he believes the state should allow deliveries during the crisis, as well. Home delivery of marijuana, which is already allowed in several states, was not covered by Polis’ order.

“We need to be able to have as little contact as possible to people. If people are sick or if they’re immunocompromised, they don’t need to be leaving their house during this time. So I think that delivery is just kind of a necessity at this point,” he said.

Colorado lawmakers last year legalized delivery but left it up to municipalities to decide if they want it. The state law allows for the delivery of medical marijuana this year and recreational cannabis in 2021.

In California, the Bureau of Cannabis Control endorsed a rule in January 2019 that allowed home marijuana deliveries statewide, even into communities that banned commercial pot sales. But even though the state has allowed broad legal marijuana sales since 2018, it remains unavailable in large areas where local governments have banned commercial activity or have not set up rules to allow sales.

“Delivery and access really need to be made available in every corner of the state,” especially during a pandemic, San Francisco-based cannabis attorney Nicole Howell said.

The coronavirus has provided the opportunity, however grim, to make that argument loud and clear — and not just in California.

Rachel Gillette, a Denver-based cannabis attorney and a board member of Colorado’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said she and the group have asked local elected officials to draft ordinances or resolutions to allow delivery of medical marijuana. But she acknowledged that could be difficult given the times.

“They may have a lot of other things on their plate than trying to figure out how to facilitate delivery for marijuana businesses,” she said, adding that allowing recreational pot delivery before next year would require legislative action.

The Colorado governor’s office said in an email there are no plans to allow businesses to apply for recreational marijuana delivery licenses before 2021, and online sales of recreational marijuana would not be allowed after the executive order expires.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division can’t authorize online recreational sales without a change in state law, but it will continue to evaluate whether the emergency rules should be amended, renewed or repealed, according to the governor’s office.

Under state law, emergency rules can only stay in effect for 120 days.

Associated Press writer Michael R. Blood in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Colorado has made online sales of recreational marijuana legal during the coronavirus pandemic, fulfilling one of the pot industry's biggest wishes and fueling its argument for more concessions that could be made permanent when the crisis eases.